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Developers to rework 3-story, lakefront homes over privacy, view concerns

Proposed Cottonwood Shores development

Local developers pulled agreements with the city of Cottonwood Shores for a proposed subdivision with 40-foot tall, three-story homes. Screen-captured image

Developers of a proposed upscale lakefront subdivision in Cottonwood Shores pulled applications for two agreements with the city after receiving pushback from residents and an adjacent developer during a City Council meeting Thursday, Nov. 2. 

Highland Lakes developers Marley Porter and Keith Patschke aim to return to the council with an updated plan in the coming weeks.

The initial plan for the 16-lot development on Dogwood Lane would have featured 40-foot-tall, 1,000-plus-square-foot, single-family homes with three stories and rooftop decks on 30-foot lots.

Porter said a new plan could lower the homes’ height to 35 feet.

The developers agreed to pay for over $1 million of public infrastructure improvements such as sidewalks, water line installation, and road paving.

“Our proposal is to put in that asphalt and curbing and sidewalk for the city for access to the (Cottonwood Shores) Nature Preserve,” Porter said.

Many residents spoke in opposition to the development, saying the towering structures would lead to an invasion of privacy.

“It’s three stories, and the fourth story is a rooftop,” resident Holly Nemchin said. “You basically might as well say it’s four stories. Do you have any idea how intrusive that would be for people living anywhere near there?”

Nemchin was also worried about the conceptual homes’ similarities to multi-family housing.

“I don’t care how many times (Porter) says it’s not an apartment, that’s exactly what they look like, apartment buildings,” she said. “I don’t know about the rest of you homeowners, but that’s not what I want in my neighborhood.”

Zach Sloltenberg of Missouri-based architecture firm Clockwork flew in from Kansas City to add his voice to the opposition. Clockwork plans to present a proposal for a luxury RV resort across Dogwood Lane from the subdivision to the City Council in December.

“Our concern is that, from any sort of angle, the (homes) become a massive wall that’s 40 feet high,” he said. “It would completely block any waterfront views. Not only from our property but probably from anywhere else.”

Obstructed lake views were a major concern for others, too.

“If you’re standing on a sidewalk and you turn sideways between two of these buildings and look, yeah, you’ll see some water and some green space behind it, but these are deep walls,” said Jim Wittliff, a representative for adjacent property owners. “As you drive down the street, what you’re going to see is a four-story monolith.”